3 Overlooked Metrics to Evaluate Employee Engagement
  • Tools & Best Practices

3 Overlooked Metrics to Evaluate Employee Engagement

Each open enrollment season, HR and benefits teams face a top challenge: employee engagement. No matter how much educational content you provide, it won't do any good if employees don’t interact with it, nor will an optimal benefits package help retention if employees aren’t aware of its potential.

Is this the part where we mention a horse led to water?

Here’s the hitch, though: as hard as it is to boost employee engagement, it can seem even harder to quantify. Why? The metrics traditionally used, such as benefit enrollment, plan migration, and voluntary benefit adoption, among others, account for only one type of engagement: the kind that results in an obvious change. While that type of data is foundational to benefits, in reality, it’s only one piece of the employee engagement puzzle. 

Let’s say, for example, an employee—we’ll call her Sally—is the first one through the door at the benefits fair, reads every open enrollment email forwards and backwards, and has a playlist of HR-supplied videos to examine the details of each benefit offering. Needless to say, Sally is savvy. She’s active. She's an HR team’s dream employee. But does that mean that Savvy Sally will elect a different set of benefits than she did last year? Will she opt into everything she’s offered? Not necessarily. If the materials Sally voraciously consumed have done their job, perhaps Sally knows that her current benefits are indeed the best fit for her, or that a new benefit offering doesn’t actually make sense for her stage of life. Ultimately, not only are Sally’s decisions smart, she’s also making ideal use of her employer’s benefits investment.

But Sally’s HR and benefits team has tracked employee engagement based on plan changes, and those numbers tell a different story. According to their data, Savvy Sally was relatively passive during open enrollment, giving the false signal that their employee engagement strategy needs an overhaul. As a consequence, Savvy Sally’s HR and benefits team spends time fixing what isn’t broken.

The moral of the story is that more abstract forms of employee engagement can seem more difficult to quantify, but without them we're not getting the full picture of employee engagement. At best, we’re working with incomplete data, and at worst, we're spinning our wheels.

The good news? Modern benefits technology and digital communication channels make it possible to analyze these less obvious points-of-engagement to get the full picture. What follows is a brief guide to tackling three measurable areas of engagement.

1. Communications

There’s a reason HR and benefit teams devote hour-upon-hour to open enrollment communication. Digital communication channels such as email and videos are often more accessible and a wider-reaching means of employee education. To measure engagement of these channels, HR and benefit administrators can rely on the following statistics:

  • Email Opens
  • Page Views
  • Read Time
  • Video Views
  • Click-Through Rates (i.e., the percentage of individuals that click on a specific link from within an email)

Tip: If you do not have access to an automated email system, consider using a free service such as Bitly to add tracking to links within emails. 

2. In-Person Activities

Face-to-face events offer an unparalleled way to inform and empower employees and indicates a particularly eager level of engagement. What’s more, measurement of these types of events is easily obtained by tracking registration and attendance at any OE-related event, such as:

  • Benefits Fairs
  • Virtual Q&As
  • Health Screenings

3. Post-Enrollment Engagement  

Post-enrollment engagement data provides foundational and monumental value. Traditional metrics include participation rates for active or passive enrollment as well as plan adoption and migration. That said, it's important to expand that assessment to include tangential metrics, such as: 

  • Call center data & volume (Analyzing data around why employees are calling and when there are spikes in call volume can help you improve the content of your communication.) 
  • HSA/FSA contributions (Did you see an increase in contributions towards these accounts?)
  • Voluntary benefit adoption (What trends did you see in adoption of any new or existing voluntary benefits by demographics?)

Find even more tools to define and refine your open enrollment strategy with Benefitfocus' Open Enrollment Success Kit